Sunday, February 18 , 2018, 8:33 pm | Fair 51º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Richard ‘Loring’ Taylor Traveled The World as Professor, Died in Montecito Mudslides

His stepson and grandson also perished, and a 2-year-old granddaughter remains among the missing

Richard ‘Loring’ Taylor and his 6-year-old grandson, Peerawat ‘Pasta’ Sutthithepa, 6, both perished in the mudslide that ravaged Montecito last week. Also among the 20 people confirmed dead in the disaster was Taylor’s stepson, Pinit ‘Ooom’ Sutthithep. His 2-year-old granddaughter, Lydia Sutthithepa, remains missing and is presumed dead. Click to view larger
Richard ‘Loring’ Taylor and his 6-year-old grandson, Peerawat ‘Pasta’ Sutthithepa, 6, both perished in the mudslide that ravaged Montecito last week. Also among the 20 people confirmed dead in the disaster was Taylor’s stepson, Pinit ‘Ooom’ Sutthithep. His 2-year-old granddaughter, Lydia Sutthithepa, remains missing and is presumed dead. (Contributed photo)

Richard ‘Loring’ Taylor had several passions in life — teaching, traveling and reading.

And one his most beloved pastimes, was watching his 6-year-old grandson, Peerawat "Pasta" Sutthithepa, 6, glide on the ice during skating practices.

Taylor, who was known simply as “Loring,” and “Pasta” both died in the mudslides that ravaged Montecito last week.

The disaster took the lives of at least 20 people, and three of them, possibly four, were from Taylor’s family.

Loring, 79, was killed along Peerawat and with his stepson, Pinit “Ooom” Sutthithep. His 2-year-old granddaughter, Lydia Sutthithepa, remains missing and is presumed dead.

Loring, Pinit, Pasta and Lydia were all asleep at their Montecito home on the 1200 block of East Valley Road when mudslides hit just before 4 a.m. on Dec. 9.

Another relative, Sirithorn “May” Janthorntho, was also inside the home at the time the mudslides hit, but was rescued by firefighters.

Loring’s home and all of his possessions were destroyed.

His wife, Perm, along with his daughter-in-law, Yuphawan “Aw” Sutthithepa, were away at work at Vons in Montecito when the mudslides hit and survived.

Yuphawan “Aw” Sutthithepa is the mother of Peerawat "Pasta" Sutthithepa and Lydia Sutthithepa.

Loring grew up in Santa Barbara, graduating from Santa Barbara High School before earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from UCSB. He taught English literature at universities around the world, and met Perm on his travels to Thailand.

Loring was a frequent patron of Left Coast Books in Goleta. His nephew Andrew Taylor said that he loved to talk about literature, history, and politics.

“My dad lived a life full of curiosity and generosity,” said daughter Freya Taylor, in a statement. “There wasn’t a book he wouldn’t read or a person he wouldn’t help in any way he could. It’s been a privilege to call this man my father.”

Loring taught English literature in the United States, then abroad in Romania on a Fulbright teaching fellowship. He also taught in the Middle East in Jordan, Yemen, and Oman.

He taught for many years at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman.

“His personality was so warm and outgoing that he was always the center of the action,” said his nephew, Matthew Taylor. “There were years during the 1980s when we saw him infrequently because he was living  in Jordan or Oman, but when he would come to visit, my friends would hang around the house for a chance to see the legendary 'Uncle Loring.' And he never disappointed.”

He purchased the Montecito home in the early 1960s, and returned to live there full-time when he retired about 20 years.ago.

Andrew Taylor also said that after his uncle married Perm, he embraced her entire family as his own.   

A fundraising page has been set up to support Loring's wife and daughter-in-law, who lost everything in the floods. It can be reached http://bit.ly/HelpPinitsFamily.

“Although the family lived at a toney address, they were not a family of wealth,” Andrew Taylor said. “The GoFundMe page that was set up to support the family by Toyota of Santa Barbara is going to have an immense impact on their ability to recover their lives from this tragedy.”  

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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